Body Language: Communication for the Challenged
After living a fairly normal childhood, no one at the age of ten expects to have a stroke. Due to a congenital heart disease, Nancy, age ten, suffers a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. She has something that is called aphasia, which is when a person has trouble speaking or has difficulty understanding what is being said to them. Nancy is my sister. Now at the age of eighteen she still has trouble speaking and often doesn't understand language. When someone lives with a stroke survivor it is upon them to learn to communicate effectively. Some of the ways I have learned to understand her is by reading her body language and emotional responsiveness. Over time, one really starts to be able to better read another person’s body language. If someone new were to step into the picture, they would most likely be frustrated trying to understand what Nancy is trying to say, but if they had the patience they would better understand what she is trying to say. Something that Nancy’s immediate family has developed with her is the understanding of certain phrases she may use or even the ability to finish her sentences or guess what she is trying to say. Overall body language becomes an effective form of communication for those who cannot speak, or have trouble speaking, fluently, such as those with Autism, those who have suffered stroke, and the deaf.
As one grows up they begin developing a sense of communication. It all begins with the process of speaking. Humans have something called a larynx, also known as the voice box, which is an organ that produces sound. In the larynx there are two folds that are called vocal cords and when they tighten they vibrate which helps produce sounds (Silverstein 12-13). The larynx alone though is not responsible for producing the sounds of speech. Nasal resonance contributes to voice tones and is essential for producing certain sounds. Sounds that are produced by the larynx travel out through the mouth and are modified my the mouth, lips, and jaw. While speaking the brain continually receives feedback, one being auditory feedback. The sound of the voice is transmitted all the way to the ears. The other being nerve pathways serve as another form of feedback, providing a continuous flow of backup information. This permits the brain to continue directing speech even if the noise in the background is loud enough to drown out the auditory feedback (27). In order to be able to successfully communicate orally, these processes must take place. The brain is the starting point in communicating, but how is communication produced as a child develops.
The process of speaking begins from day one of birth. At first a baby has no concept of making spoken sounds, but at about four days of age, a bay has the ability to distinguish between sounds, no matter how closely related. For about the first month a baby listens avidly, but doesn’t do much...